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Recent Acquisitions in Biblical Know-
Religious Thought, Progress of .... ..... 343
II. Rev. George Matheson
Soteriology, A Study in
SUNDAY IN CHURCH :-
Ananias and Sapphira
Gospel Preached at Antioch
Lame Man Healed........
Lord's Supper Profaned
Paul's First Missionary Sermon 479
Peter and John before the Council 95
Work among the Gentiles
Third Sunday after Trinity: Divine
Knowledge of Human Action ... 85
Choice of Troubles..
Theological Science and Ministerial
Jer. v. 22, 24...
Gal. iv. 7
1 Thess. i. 3
1 Pet. i. 13.
THE SURVEY OF THOUGHT.
THE “FAILURE OF THE REVISED VERSION.-Some remarks by Dr. Westcott on the subject of the Revised Version appear in the Expository Times, and are well worth consideration. He is, indeed, well qualified to speak on the matter, as he laboured for ten years as one of the Revisers of the New Testament. His deliberate opinion is that, in spite of imperfections and inequalities in the work, the Revision has brought the words and thoughts of the Apostles before English people with a purity and exactness never attained before. He asserts that the changes which many have spoken of as “trivial and unnecessary” all admit of an explanation on an intelligible principle. “A contrast,” he says, “is frequently made between the extent of change made by the Revisers of the Old and New Testaments, and even as to the fidelity with which they followed their instructions. The contrast is illusory. Critics commonly forget that there are practically no various readings in the Old Testament, and very few parallel texts. If we take away the changes in the New Testament due to changes of reading and parallelisms of language, the alleged disproportion will cease to exist. Every kind of change which has aroused antagonism in the revised New Testament is found, and is found most rightly, in the revised Old Testament. But changes in the one are more obvious than in the other. The one desire of the Revisers was to give the most exact and faithful rendering they could of the text before them. In this they followed the aim and the pattern of their predecessors, whose style and vocabulary and rhythm they strove to preserve with the most scrupulous care. It was not for them to decide by any arbitrary and varying judgment on the importance of changes. A new and perhaps somewhat uncouth English phrase might represent more perfectly a Hebrew idiom—a Hebrew mode of conception. What then? It was the mode of conception which God was pleased to choose for conveying His truth to the world. Let it be faithfully rendered. Let it be offered to our common people, that they may, by patient reflection, grasp the fulness of the lesson."
CRITICISM AND FAITH.-The dismay and indignation which have been excited in the minds of many devout believers in Christianity by the writings of "advanced” Biblical critics are not surprising. For there can be no doubt that nothing less than a complete change of attitude towards the Word of God would seem to be the end towards which matters are tending. Some very wise words of counsel are addressed to both parties by the editor of The Old and New Testament Student, in an article with the above title. He says: We may offer one or two suggestions dealing solely with the question
NO. 1.-VOL. II.—THE THINKER.
of the disturbance of faith by new views of the Bible. Satisfaction and rest are only safe and enduring when faith stands on firm ground. A flaw in the foundation may not trouble me to-day and to-morrow, but the house will tumble down some day. If I enjoy my present comfort now, it is at the cost of future danger and expense. To shut the eyes before facts about the Bible will not permanently benefit my faith. It will secure a temporary respite, but final damage. Taking for granted that modern criticism of the Bible has some truth in it, that the work of earnest, devout, and learned men in the last half century has produced and is producing some good fruit, shall we quarrel with them and warn them because they press it upon our attention when it is in some respects revolutionary and disturbing ? Shall we say, “Leave us alone to our faith in the Old”? If so, and the truth is with them, who will have the worst of it ? Too many people believe in their faith instead of believing in the facts on which faith must rest. Too many people prefer the satisfaction that comes from believing in anything to that which comes from believing in the truth. Men have often an unquestioning faith which cannot stand a test. It has never been tested. Perhaps they do not want it tested. But when the probing is made, when the foundations are examined, the man wakes up to find that his faith rests on many supports or on nothing. Dr. Dale, in his Living Christ and the Gospel, gives a very striking instance of such a case. The belief was superficially grounded. The basis was removed by the results of Biblical criticism. The man was in despair. For a time all faith was gone. Is such faith safe? Was not such testing an inestimable blessing? It destroyed the old foundations, but transferred the faith to better and enduring ones. Grave religious problems confront Biblical scholars to-day, and none more grave than this of the relation of the new Biblical scholarship to the popular faith. Caution and candour must go hand in hand. Criticism may be a servant of Satan. It may be abused to work spiritual havoc among unprepared minds. Yet that is not the fault of criticism, but of its unthinking advocates. It may be the handmaid of faith. We believe that, all things considered, it is an instrument of truth. Used with wisdom and courage, it will do invaluable service in extending sound knowledge and establishing solid faith in the truth of God and His word. Its advocates, if they are wise, will always keep in mind the argument from consequences, and give it its full weight. Yet they will look to it from the larger standpoint, remembering that there are good consequences somewhat farther off perhaps, but still certain to come, which, in their coming, will make up in over-abundance of blessing for the possible temporary and immediate consequences of ill. At any rate, true, loyal scholars will never be deterred by this argument from uttering, in the proper time and way, with reverence and yet with courage, the new truth which it has been granted them to discover.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF St. Paul's BELIEF.—Prof. Gilbert, of Chicago, has an interesting article on this subject in The Old and New Testament Student. He remarks that so far from being hostile to the inspiration of the